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Mario Draghi takes helm of crisis-hit Italy

Italy's new prime minister, former European Central Bank President Mario Draghi puts on his face mask after addressing the media on February 12, 2021. Photo: AFP

Former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi has formally accepted the Italian premiership, charged with guiding his country through the devastation brought by the coronavirus pandemic. The 73-year-old economist will lead a new national unity government to replace Giuseppe Conte's centre-left coalition that collapsed one month ago, leaving the country rudderless in an unprecedented crisis. After meeting with President Sergio Mattarella to formally accept the appointment, Draghi spoke only to list the names of his ministers, a mix of politicians and technocrats. The senior deputy governor of Bank of Italy, Daniele Franco, was named as the new economy minister, while Roberto Speranza and Luigi Di Maio stay on at health and foreign affairs, respectively. Draghi will return to the presidential palace at midday on Saturday to be formally sworn in, a spokesman for Mattarella said. More than 93,000 people with coronavirus have died in Italy since it became the first European country to face the full force of the pandemic one year ago, and the toll is still rising by the hundreds each day. Last year's shutdown and waves of subsequent restrictions plunged the eurozone's third-largest...





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